final thoughts for this season

I feel something unusual right now. Complete peace. Political jargon makes me tired. I have had ups and downs of frustration. I have questioned my thoughts, beliefs, convictions. I have been angry (and not the righteous kind either) and I have definitely shed a few tears. In the midst of this I have had amazing friends and family to walk the journey with me in figuring out who I am as a follower of Christ who has a civic duty. 

My friend Kate is awesome. She is hard working, beautiful, has a huge heart and a strong sense of justice. I met her when I was 16. Kate and her now husband, Mike, have been some of my biggest supporters and champions. They were one of a set of mentors in my life that taught me by example and through relationship how to think and talk critically about life. Kate now works as the director of public policy at Voice of America. She also can be found working at countless community outreaches and initiatives, and is an adjunct professor at Eastern College. Tonight at her class she’ll be sharing with her students some of my thoughts in light of this political season and my faith. 

I do believe that it grieves the Holy Spirit when we confuse political hot headedness with righteous anger. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and often our neighbors are “the other”- those unlike us. What glory is given to God when we make decisions out of fear and under the guise of Christian obligation? Labeling someone a “terrorist” or any other sort of slander is stereotyping that is based in fear. Fear of his middle name, of his biracial background, of his potentially cultural and not relational “Christianity”. Much of the make up of today’s US population is non-white, and in fact bi-racial or multi-racial. Despite our desire to call ourselves “full-blooded americans”, we are ALL the off spring of immigration unless we are a 4/4 registered Native American. Not only that, we are a country founded on freedom, which includes freedom of religion. That was a foundation for our country because we were fleeing persecution, slander, and the legality of state religion. Fighting that truth alienates our neighbors that we are CALLED to be loving and serving. Why are we afraid of people that God created? People that God knit in their mother’s womb? People that God knows entirely and loves unconditionally regardless of how much they love or acknowledge Him? Why are we allowing the politics of this world to reign ABOVE our trust in the sovereign Lord? We are not of this world – you can hear that statement many times in churches across the world. But God placed us in His glorious and beautiful, yet also fallen, creation. He commands us to participate with the goal of reconciliation and restoration.
So no, your political rants that you proudly display for all to see on the internet do nothing to spur in me a fire for “change of president”. It ignites in me a deep sadness and emptiness knowing that brothers and sisters in Christ have their hearts set on something other than the Lord’s ultimate call on their lives: to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul AND love your neighbor as yourself. I am so thankful to have grown up in a family that desires for this reconciliation and restoration of God’s creation. I want my friends, my family, and my future children to know and love the Lord. But I also want them to understand that God’s love is radical and far reaching. It isn’t just for “us”… for those of us who sit every Sunday, lift our hands to heaven and sing, who have done the obligatory retreats, bible study groups and service trips. 
That love is not for us. It is for a diverse and global body and community, and that is Gods plan. That is his great commission. He doesn’t desire for us to be fearful of that. He desires for us to embrace it, to love it, and to challenge ourselves to live it.
Thank you Kate, Mike, my family and friends scattered across the country who have helped me develop a heart for the Lord and for His creation. 

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